The ball is in your court, Quinnipiac

The SGA puts administration on blast with its support for commuters

Daniel Passapera, Contributing Writer

Nearly 15 days after Quinnipiac University announced a $90 semesterly fee for commuter students, the Student Government Association (SGA) released a compelling rebuttal favoring students. The statement, a complete masterpiece, echoed the deep-rooted division between the administration and its students’ concerns.

The timing couldn’t be better as commuter students began taking matters into their own hands by protesting during campus tours — a display that hurt the pockets of the very institution stealing from ours. It was a stroke of genius.

After an ineffective and lackluster State of the QUnion, condescending emails from Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett and two surveys, this announcement was surprisingly refreshing and assuring. The SGA swung and did not miss.

“As students, we believe Quinnipiac University is not acting in accordance with its values, as the policy is clearly inequitable to a specific portion of the student body,” the SGA announcement said.

Notably, the SGA mentions “no student was consulted during this decision-making process” and “overwhelming student feedback” — two things the administration should’ve accounted prior to making this inane policy. The bare minimum must be hard when all you see are dollar signs.

The Student Government Association released a statement condemning the $90 commuter fee. (Screenshot from Instagram @QUSGA)

The statement continued to get better as it went on, featuring six resolutions every student could support. The SGA requested a total exemption from the fee for all current undergraduate students, the assembly of a task force, detailed reports and “transparency” — a word that the administration doesn’t quite have a grasp of.

Personally, as a commuter myself, my favorite is the fifth resolution, which, “calls upon President Judy Olian, Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett, and other parties involved in crafting the email to publicly apologize to commuter students for the demeaning tone directed at commuters regarding their academic performance.”

But at this point, the only sorrow, if any, that is demonstrated by the administration will align with that of an apology from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It’ll be completely meaningless — the damage has already been done.

As of March 15, the administration has yet to respond to the SGA’s statement. However, Ellett has offered up a spectacular “opportunity” for 10-minute engagements in a recent email to all undergraduates. Although meetings can be effective they need to lead to action. This commuter situation has shown these meetings are anything but that. Meanwhile, President Judy Olian took the time to share last year’s sustainability report, expressing gratitude toward the Sustainability Planning Committee for its strategies. Notably, the email mentions, “three strategic areas” in learning, living and leading — three L’s, all of which Quinnipiac takes. How ironic.

Ideally, a request should’ve been made for a total exemption for incoming students and a disavowal of the newly approved authoritarian requirement, which dictates that all future undergraduate students, who live farther than 25 miles of Quinnipiac, must live on-campus for at least three years. However, this statement was a start of which I want to personally thank the SGA for.

I, including many others, would love to see this energy moving forward with more issues that are plaguing campus. It’s a multifaceted effort on campus that expands beyond the SGA and the administration. Students need to actively voice their concerns, and I’m not talking about bringing back acai bowls or expanding Starbucks’ hours.

Every student should feel comfortable everywhere, especially when seeking higher education to further themselves. Speak out for your peers and actively seek to better the campus through involvement, organizations, initiative, petitions and other necessary means.

This fight along with many others continues. Here’s my riveting advice to the elites “serving” their students: the smart choice is to side with your students, recognize the diverse community at large and improve the campus experience for everyone.

If the over 1,100 supporters weren’t enough, the SGA’s backing proves to be problematic for the administration going forward, if it chooses to respond. Quinnipiac, you have this opportunity to right a wrong. It would be a shame if current or prospective students shy away from this institution over continued mistreatment.